Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Uckers, swing bridges and bird boxes on gates.

Sunday with the family was great, lunch in The Three Swans, just about the biggest individual Yorkshire pudding I've come across, and then back to the boat to play "Uckers" with the boys. It's a naval board game, played on a ludo board but it's much more sophisticated than ludo. The grandsprogs love it.

Leaving Hungerford it seems as though you are cruising through the churchyard.

They have rebuilt Church Swingbridge, last time we were here, five years ago, you had to get someone to jump up and down on the bridge deck as you pushed to open it. Now it's a one handed job.

At Hungerford Marsh Lock they went one better when building the canal,

they built the bridge across the lock. You need to open the bridge before using the lock. Again the bridge is greatly improved. Five years ago Jill damaged the cartilage in her knee trying to open it, it still gives her trouble.
We moored just above Froxfield Bottom Lock. Apart from the trains, you can't get away from them along this stretch, there was no sound except a symphony of bird song. The occasional whoosh of the HST's and the rumble of a passing bulk stone train was a small price to pay.
There are three locks at Froxfield, Froxfield Bottom, Froxfield Middle but no Froxfield Top, instead it is called Oakhill Down Lock, odd.

Lots of work going on along here, building new by-washes to improve water flow along the canal.
At the top lock, whatever it's called there are strange attachments on the bottom gates.

To my untutored eye they look like bird boxes Now I have seen birds nesting on gates, generally wagtails but should we encourage them. It will be fine until something like a lesser spotted ouslem bird nests there, then the RSPB, Natural England and probably the League Against Cruel Sports will be on our backs. Look what the discovery of a newt can do! If you've never heard of the ouslem bird, it is noted for flying backwards in ever decreasing circles until it disappears in a big blue flash up its own fundamental orifice.
That aside, we have made it to Great Bedwyn and are now watching the rain run down the windows.

Watch this space.........

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